Karnataka bypoll results: Siddaramaiah pulls off a double!

Srinivasprasad crushed by Kalale in Nanjangud bypoll; Geetha wins Gundlupet

Bengaluru: In a shot in the arm for the ruling Congress ahead of next year's elections to the Legislative Assembly, new-comer Kalale Keshavamurthy proved a giant killer in Nanjangud while Mrs Geetha Mahadev Prasad made the most of a sympathy wave to retain Gundlupet, a constituency represented by her late husband and minister H.S. Mahadev Prasad, to pull off a 2-0 result in the bypolls held in these two constituencies.

The icing on the cake: impressive victory margins notched by both Mr Keshavamurthy and Mrs Geetha Mahadev Prasad. While Mr Keshavamurthy, who migrated from JD (S) to Congress just before the bypoll in Nanjangud defeated former Union minister V Srinivas Prasad by 21, 334 votes, the minister's widow secured 10, 877 votes more than that of Mr C.S. Niranjan Kumar.

And with such emphatic victories, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah not only fortified his position in the party but emerged as an unchallenged leader of the backward classes who holds sway over Dalits and minorities, just as his idol and late chief minister D Devaraj Urs, did. He announced that he would lead the party in next year's Assembly polls as "people voted above castes lines in Nanjangud and Gundlupet," a fact reflected by the support of Lingayats and Vokkaligas to the ruling party candidates. Besides, he proved a point to his detractors that voters of these numerically significant communities had not drifted away from Congress in view of his AHINDA focus in his home district, Mysuru, as well as in neighbouring Chamarajanagar district. Mr Siddaramaiah, who not only picked an outsider in Keshavamurthy as the party candidate, also forged a tactical understanding with JD (S) to ensure that the party did not field candidates in both constituencies and thus prevent a split in votes. Soon after announcement of the results, the Chief Minister acknowledged the help of JD (S) leaders and thanked patriarch H D Deve Gowda, his son H D Kumaraswamy and district unit presidents of that party.

The results, however, proved a major setback for state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa who toured these two constituencies several times for more than 20 days to leverage the Lingayat-Dalit coalition in Nanjangud and Gundlupet, hoping to later extend it to rest of the state. His strategy to invite former external affairs minister S M Krishna to campaign in both these constituencies did not yield desired results as Vokkaligas backed Congress candidates in the absence of a JD (S) candidate.

"We need to introspect on why we lagged behind in our efforts. We have not achieved success to win the confidence of the people. However there has been a substantial increase in the votes polled by the BJP when compared to the previous elections. This has proved that people have made up their mind to effect a transformation in the next coming days. I am confident the BJP will be able to wrest both the seats in next year's elections," Mr Yeddyurappa told the media while commenting on losses in both seats.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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